I Remember the First Time

I remember the first time I felt like I had to protect myself from my sister. I think I was 4 or 5 years old because we were still living in the “old” house. We were playing with the telephone. Back then, telephones plugged into the wall and sat on top of a table. There were no wall mounted phones yet and you had to dial numbers because there were no push buttons yet.

The plug that went into the wall wasn’t like a regular electric plug. It had four metal prongs on it that fit into a specially installed outlet with four holes. I was playing with my sister and her best friend. We unplugged the telephone to bring it into our bedroom (I shared a bedroom with my sister in the “old” house.) Her friend told me to stand at the end of the bed, which was pushed up against the wall.

I went to the end of the bed and she said, “Put the plug between the wall and the bed.” She threw the plug at the end of the cord as hard as she could at my face. I turned to duck but it caught me on the top of the head.

Shocked and Dazed

I don’t think anyone expected this, but one of the prongs split the skin on my head open. I grabbed my head and screamed, “Ouch!” When I took my hands away from my head they were covered in blood. I went screaming to my Mom.

“What happened now?!!?” Then she saw the blood and rushed me into the bathroom. She put wet face cloths on my head and applied pressure, all the time repeating, “What happened? What happened?”

“She threw the cord at me!”

“Who threw what cord at you?”

My sister kept yelling, “It was an accident! It was an accident! It wasn’t on purpose!”

I had forgotten about this memory until I was almost 50 years old. What I remember most vividly is my sister pleading like her life depended on it that it was just an accident and her friend didn’t mean it. I distinctly remember feeling like my sister didn’t care at all about me or what had just happened. What was important to her was that my mother believed it was not done on purpose.

The feeling that came with acknowledging this frightened me. I was scared to death to be in the same bedroom with her anymore. I never said this to anyone, I just felt it. There was emotional abuse before this that I can’t recall clearly, but by this time I absolutely knew that my sister could not be trusted. This wasn’t an isolated incident. It was just the first one that made me realize I had a huge problem on my hands with my sister and her friend.

It was the first time I felt unsafe and afraid in my home. I remember it clearly enough to bring back the feeling of the whole event. I was just a kid. But it’s definitely the first time I sensed that my sister always treated me badly and believed it was okay if she just lied about it to my Mom.

I don’t remember if I needed stitches or not. I think I did, but the memory isn’t clear enough. I just know I couldn’t wash my hair for several days and I had to walk around with blood-stained hair because my Mom wasn’t allowed to wash it. So, I think we must have gone to the hospital and it was there that someone told her not to wash my hair right away.

My Mom said we couldn’t play with the telephone anymore after that.